Meeting your child for the first time is an event that is etched into the memory of every parent. Regardless of how you and your child become connected (conception, fostering, adoption, etc), the moment you meet him is filled with emotion. My story is no different.
As with any expectant mom, I was on pins and needles anticipating the arrival of my son. The anxiety started the moment we were officially informed that Sheila* had selected us. It was also around that time we found out that our son was in a breach position. Sheila really didn’t want to have a C-section, so she was scheduled to have her doctor attempt to turn him. The appointment was scheduled for Friday before Christmas, while we were on our family vacation in Orlando. We knew there was a chance the procedure could induce labor, so the entire time we were at Universal Studios, my phone remained in my hand. But nothing, no news the ENTIRE day. The following day, my phone rang at eight in the morning… it was the social worker. I bet you can imagine all of the thoughts and feelings going through my mind. The procedure was unsuccessful, but Sheila was doing fine and no sign of induced labor (Yay! We didn’t have to cut our trip short). However, she will have to go ahead with a Cesarean; it was scheduled for Jan. 4.
The rest of the time flew by. We returned home from vacation and got the final items we needed for the nursery and bringing home baby. On New Year’s Eve, the social worker called to inform us that the Cesarean was rescheduled for Jan 2. Oh Boy!!! I had a bottle of wine sitting in kitchen. I was quite tempted to drink the entire bottle (those who know me realize how much of a temptation that was), it was a holiday after all. But I decided against it. I still had itty-bitty baby clothes that needed to be washed and folded. That’s how I rung in the new year.
The next morning, my phone rang at 7am. It was the social worker. Apparently our little boy decided that he was ready to come into the world and was born in the wee hours of the morning (good thing I didn’t drink that bottle of wine). At that time, that was all of the information she had. She promised that she would stay in contact with any updates and to let us know when we could go and visit. Let me tell you, I was on edge all morning. I honestly don’t think I can accurately convey all of the emotions that I was experience. I was excited (that’s a given), I was anxious, nervous, and, and, and, and then I was crying-out of nowhere! I was a hot mess!
The social worker called us with an update a few hours later. She had spoken to the nurses but not to Sheila. Her guess was that we may be able to visit in the late afternoon, but she will call us back to confirm and give us a time. Ha! That was all I needed! We dropped the dog off to my grandmother’s and we hit the road (the hospital was an hour away). We figured we’d drive around for a bit and get some food while we waited for the phone call. We located the hospital and did a sweep of the parking lot. We drove up and down the streets. We stopped for a really long lunch/dinner. At six, we decided to call it a day and started the drive home. Disappointment doesn’t begin to describe what I was feeling. It was my own fault. I should have waited. Fifteen minutes into the drive I received a call from the social worker, she had finally spoken to a nurse who could give her accurate information. Apparently Sheila has a low pain tolerance, really low, and the doctors were unable to get the cocktail of pain medication right for her. She was extremely uncomfortable and was not up to having visitors. We could see her and the baby tomorrow. I could respect that.– We went home.
The next day I was more patient. The social worker called me again and said that we could visit Sheila and the baby after 5pm. Awesome! She gave us the room number and all of the information we would need to gain access. This time we slowed down and just took it easy. We arrived to the hospital just before five, so we hung out in the car for a bit. Finally, it was time.
Do you know that feeling you get when you are really nervous or frightened? You are walking and talking but everything feels surreal? Multiply that by 100 and you will have a little bit of an idea of what I was feeling. We walked into the hospital, made our way through the corridors, found the elevators, pushed the button, and waited…waited…waited. Ding! We boarded the elevator and went up. When we reached the floor, we walked down the hall and we were there. We were at the doors to the maternity ward and THEY DIDN’T OPEN! Oh, a buzzer (duh). I pushed the button, gave them the information they required, and they buzzed us in. They showed us to the room.
When we walked in, there was Sheila sitting in a chair feeding our son. OH MY GOD, he is real and he is here! She greeted us and invited us to sit down, me on the bed, my husband on a chair next to me. We chatted for a bit. Sheila recounted the story of her pain medication debacle. I let her talk. I didn’t want to rush her although the entire time I was thinking… I want that baby! But, I knew that this was a big deal for her too. I knew that this was not an easy situation for her. So, if she needed time, well she deserved my understanding and patience at the least.
We chatted for a bit longer and then the baby was finished with his bottle. She burped him and said, “Would you like to hold your son?” Of course! Knowing she was in pain, I stood up and slowly walked over to Sheila and the baby. She handed him to me and said, “Hey sweetie, meet your mommy” and she placed him in my arms. The importance of the moment was not lost on me. She was at peace with her decision and this was her way of expressing that to us. Even now, three years later as I write this, I do so with tears in my eyes. I will never forget that moment when Sheila made me a mother.
I took the baby and walked back to the bed. I looked at his little face, his dimples, his fingers….perfect. Immediately, my husband pulls out his phone and begins taking pictures.
After a some time had passed, my husband wanted him. So, begrudgingly, I released the little darling to my husband.
And so we remained for three hours… mother, mommy, daddy, and son. We chatted, fed him, changed his diaper, and scheduled our visit for the next day. I still find it amazing how well we all got along that evening. Well no, I am not shocked. We have been comfortable with each other from the start as we are today. What I do know is that the three of us are truly blessed to have Sheila in our lives.
The day I met my son may not have been the same as many mothers out there, but I wouldn’t change it for the world!
~Until Next Time!
*Name changed for anonymity